The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

50th anniversary

Interview

Lilian Bayne

I left school and went straight to Moray House and did three years at Moray House. In 1964 I started working in Stirlingshire at Laurieston Primary School. I was there for three years and then I got married and came in to Edinburgh. Since then I have worked in different schools in Edinburgh.

What is your most memorable moment from your time as a teacher in the 1960s?

I vaguely remember my first day as a teacher. There was two of us started on the same day. She had 42 in her class and I had 37.

I had a lovely headmaster at Laurieston. The one memory I have is that our classroom goldfish died and we had a funeral for it on the same day as Winston Churchill's funeral. We paraded across the playground – myself and all 37 children!

Falkirk was just starting as an education place and I was involved in the first course that did ‘projects’. You know, topics – but in those days they were called projects. That was the beginning of not teaching History and Geography as such but teaching it as a topic. It was when Calendar Park House opened, a college in Falkirk. It was a brand new way of teaching. I taught about two miles up the road from the college. We were a sort of 'study group' from the course that I was on and we did it first before anyone else.

The first topic we did was Christmas, and we did Christmas with history and geography and everything else tied in. I loved the new way of working.

When I came to Edinburgh to teach I found Edinburgh very difficult in comparison to Laurieston because it was a totally different lot of children with a totally different lot of problems in the discipline line, but I'm still teaching in Edinburgh so I must have solved them!

What was discipline like?

Discipline was good – remember that at that time the belt was still there, and yes I used the belt. I think they stopped using the belt in 1968.

How about your approach to teaching – how was that different in the 1960s?

The approach in the 1960s was very much more about factual teaching. English, reading, writing, arithmetic, history, geography, everything was taught as facts. Nowadays everything's integrated and it's much more about feelings and thinking and moving on your personality. I think we made academically sound children. At that time the qualifying year was on the go, which was an exam they had to sit in Primary 7 to determine whether they went to the academic secondary or the other one. It streamed them – so they were put into classes according to their ability.

What have been the biggest challenges for you, as a teacher over the course of your career?

There's been ups and downs all the way along. Sometimes it was getting along with the other members of staff. Sometimes headteachers.

What's been the biggest support for you as a teacher?

Oh your colleagues.

And what have you enjoyed most?

Oh the children! I wouldn't be doing it still if I hadn't enjoyed being with children!

I was in a Nursery the other day and when the children came in and I met five parents I had previously taught! They were all at the same school – Parsons Green School.

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